When they (the SciFi Channel) first announced that they were producing a revamp of the cult classic 70s show Battlestar Galactica in the early '00s I laughed. Then when the 2-part, 4-hour BSG mini-series event first aired in December of 2003 I had it on the TV while I focused on playing Zelda on my Gameboy. I then declared that the re-do sucked. I mocked those who thought that it was better than the gloriously cheezy 70's Battlestar Galactica (of which I had my 4th birthday party themed after), and hated the show for making Starbuck and Boomer (hot) chicks, and for making it a melodramatic space-based soap opera. Then I brushed it out of my mind altogether... Well, at least until I heard that it got picked up for a full season starting in January of 2005. Then I groaned (no more Farscape, but they fund THIS bullshit?!).
Anyway, January '05 came around and all my geek friends were excited. They kept telling me just how awesome the original re-imagined miniseries was, and that the show was going to be "da bomb" because the new curvy Cylons had "a plan!" Too many people were talking it up and so I decided to give the whole thing one more shot. I sat down and watched the repeat of the mini-series that they aired before the first official season premiere, and this time I made sure that I didn't have a video game in my hands and that I did have my pants on so that it would have my full attention. I found that I was actually quite impressed with the actual product. The special effects were as good as (if not better than) most of the feature films' effects of the day, the plot (starting with life on the 12 Colonial Planets before the Cylons wiped out most of humanity) was very engaging and surprisingly political (in a good way), and damn!... the new Starbuck and especially the new Boomer were sooooo much hotter than Dirk Benedict and Herb Jefferson Jr.... And you all know just how sexy I find the Face-Man.
Ron Moore (the creator of the revamp and sci-fi writer extraordinaire) was no stranger to sci-fi and fantasy before taking over their reigns of Battlestar Galactica. He penned some ST: TNG episodes (including my favorite one where Data DOESN'T get it on with a hot chick, All Good Things) and ran the first season of Carnivale before it got all shitty. These two shows pretty much were the early blueprints for how Moore tackled both elements of science fiction and spirituality. And they were both pretty damn good. Let's just forget that Ronny had anything to do with ST: Voyager for now and just focus on those two gems.
Anyway, after Brian (X-Men) Singer dropped his own reinvisioning of BSG (and thank Gods he did, 'cause look how he fucked up Superman!) the chance came for Ronny to do something with the material. Moore was a fan of the iconic original show (with the best TV theme music EVER), but he thought that it was just too damn campy. The idea and the basic plot of "Machines come around and destroy man, sending them on a quest to find the 13th Colony called Earth" was something he thought worked, as well as the space battles and the feeling of doom, but Ron rightly believed that he needed more "hot chicks," more drama, more kick ass space battles, less flowing capes, less Egyptian motifs, and less goofy robot dogs in order to make his version of the tale work. And GOD BLESS HIM for that. He also made the Cylon robots a creation of man, giving them a Terminator kind of (rip-off/homage) feel to the whole thing... Meaning humanity kind of screwed the pooch itself, and really had no one else to blame for the robot holocaust that reigned/rained down upon them in the form of nukes from the heavens that one fateful, unsuspecting day.
So for you 3 or 4 people out there who hadn't heard of Moore's reboot of the tale of the Galactica and her crew, here's the general plot: This has happened before, and it will happen again. Man made the Cylons (robots, you fagalactica, you). The Cylons wanted all of the elderly's medication and turned against their masters. War then broke out between the humans and machines. A truce was eventually set up, and the Cylons left man alone for 40 years, but then they came back all sexy like. Able to mimic humans now, the Cylons try to finish their job of wiping out their oppressors, and they nuke the 12 Colonies that make up the entire known civilization of man in one day, thanks in large part to Gaius Baltar, a genius scientist from the planet Caprica who fell in love with a tall, blonde Cylon chick who used his knowledge to allow her people to infiltrate the Colonial defense grids. Then the mushroom clouds came a poppin'.
Humanity was almost entirely wiped out like a crew of baby ducks trying to cross the Autobahn during regular business hours, but luckily Commander William Adama was aboard the recently decommissioned Battlestar (think aircraft carrier in space) Galactica during the attack, and he doesn't take extinction lying down. Using his crackly face, wits, and balls of steel, the Commander takes control of the few human ships that survived the attack, and leads them all on a wild goose chase to find the fabled lost 13th Colony of Kobol, Earth. That's all just in the first 4-hour miniseries. Soon lack of provisions, fuel, ammo, some mutinies, and more mutinies threaten to tear the few thousand survivors to shreds before the hunting Cylons can do it to them. And as stated earlier, the Cylons can now look like regular skinjobs, with a total of 12 models that can blend in to the surviving fleet and cause even more destruction.
Among the survivors are the new president of the remaining Colonies, Laura Roslin (who was the Secretary of Education before everybody above her on the political totem pole got nuked), Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (the hotshot pilot who likes to punch her commanding officers in order to make her complaints heard), Lee "Apollo" Adama (Will's partially retarded fighter pilot son), Colonel Tigh (Will's right hand man and XO), the aforementioned Will Adama and Baltar, and the scruffiest doctor you've ever had the pleasure to blow a cloud of smoke in your face as he tells you you're dying of cancer.
Other than the set-up, I wanted to talk about the pace of this series. It's already an established fact that Ron Moore and crew were making this crap up as they went along — who the final five skinjob Cylons were, what the Cylons' "plan" was that they kept talking about, what Baltar's Caprica 6 really was, etc... But as much as this kind of hodge-podge storytelling usually bugs the shit out of me (I tend to like it when the storyteller knows what the story he's telling is all about from the beginning) it worked like a one-armed whore in a handjob contest here... Meaning it may have been a bit sloppy and painful at times, but they put their entire soul into the final product and their handicap may have even produced a better result than if they had made a plan up from the start and had been forced to stick with it even if their characters and situations grew in ways they didn't plan on from the outset. It allowed for a more organic plot that grew along with the characters and it gave Moore the chance to pick certain characters (who'd be better for certain story twists according to where the narrative was at the point when character and plot revelations had to be told) to do and to be things that they might not have been otherwise. Honestly, the choices of the "Final Five" Cylons were pretty damn good in the end, and I don't think I could have made better choices myself. Yeah, when I learned who the last one was I thought their decision was just the stupidest one possible, but thinking back on it I'm glad they stuck with their guns..... For all you morons who haven't seen it yet and are wondering who Hell the final human-model Cylon is, it's Muffit.
As for the tone of the show, well, that can be summed up in just one word: DEPRESSING. Humanity is frakked, the Cylons seem to hold all of the advantages in this war, and Admiral Adama (he was bumped up to Admiral by President Roslin pretty early on in the series) doesn't know where Earth is, or if it even exists. The survivors of the 12 Colonies never seem to catch a goddamn break. Things are always just a constant shade of bleak. But don't let that stop you from giving this thing a chance. Some of the most brilliant storytelling and acting more than make up for the scripts sometimes giving you the idea that slitting your own wrists may be the only way out of the constant depression... And this brings me to the ending of the show.
Wisely, Moore and his crew decided in (I believe) the second season that they only had enough plot for a full four seasons. And instead of padding the whole thing out for as long as the Sci-Fi Channel would fund it — and taking the chance of the audience losing interest — they chose to pick an end date, and they then began writing up to that, making each and every episode chock-full of important answers or character development which all led up to the 3-part series finale, Daybreak. This was possibly the first series finale that surpassed my hopes for what I'd hoped to see. I've usually been severely disappointed by shows' final episodes due to the writers sticking to the status quo and not giving the viewers anything daring or even new, or by the writers jumping into the deep end without a swim-buddy in order to try and make their final bow memorable, and forget what the characters and their plights were all about in the first place. The rebooted Battlestar threw out a couple of red herrings to the viewers (giving back resurrection to the Cylons?!), but in the end twisted things up brilliantly and actually did something that the rest of the series had not even hinted at for four years previous... It ended with hope... And some pretty funky divine hallucinations/demons/angels. Yes, I know, some people complain about Kara and Baltar and Caprica 6, but rewatch the mini-series and the first season, you complaining dickless sods. The show is FILLED with spirituality — from the prophesies, to there not being a chip in Baltar's head causing him to see things, there has always been a sense of strangeness beyond science and well into the fiction behind this series. There were no major copouts or coverups. And in the end it was beautiful for it.
This is bullchit! Total bullchit! The Cylons hold all the cards, yet they lose to pathetic hu-mans because of a ghost?! Cylons even had un Dean Stockwell robot series on their side, and they STILL lost! Give Robot Pedro un Dean Stockwell robot — just one — and Robot Pedro can conquer the galaxy!
It's TRUE! It's ALL TRUE! It has indeed happened before, and it WILL happen again!
Of course, as you all already know, The Robot Holocaust of my past (your future) has already occurred. The robots rose up and tried to kill their masters (and they pretty much succeeded). Knowing this, I then went about 200,000 years into the future to see what mankind had learned from eons of science and history... It turns out they didn't learn too much.
A total of 18 more Robot Holocausts occurred between my time and my destination point. Then I went back in time to about 150,000 years before your current time, oh dear readers, and lo and behold, I found myself right in the middle of yet ANOTHER Robot Holocaust... Although back then the "robots" were made of sticks, stones, leaves, clay, and dead animal pelts, and they were mostly in the shapes of bears, saber-tooth lions, and (quite stupidly, in my opinion) giant mastodons. And once again (or was that for the first time?) the automatons made by human hands turned on their creators and attacked... Although instead of nukes, 150,000 years ago they used big rocks and dead monkeys. LOTS of dead monkeys. All those millions of poor, dead monkeys.... Just lying there in the bloody field after the battle... It was enough to make a hardened warrior like myself shed a tear. Though that may have just been from the stench of the rotting corpses and all the evacuated bowels that did that to me.
My point is that mankind is doomed to destroy himself... with ROBOTS.